Top loadout, upgrades and perks for Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies

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Take it all with a brain of salt.
By Vikki BlakePublished on
The first thing you'll notice about the return of Call of Duty Zombies is probably the best thing of all – for the first time ever, you'll spawn in with your choice of gun you've unlocked thus far, so no longer will we have to take on the first waves of angry zombies with nowt more than a crappy pistol.
Given the weapons at your disposal vary, everyone's individual journey in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies will be a bit different, at least initially. But with plenty of perks and weapons that can be unlocked along the way, this guide spills the zombeans on how to get the best out of COD Black Ops Cold War's Zombies.

Starting out

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies
Clearly had a good dentist
Though Zombies doesn't quite offer the selection - or power - of the weapons available in other multiplayer modes, for the first time, players are able to bring a loadout into Zombies with them for the first time. And while it's great to give that pistol a hard swerve, Zombies only permits you to take in one single weapon and a single field upgrade, too. And even if it usually boasts excellent attachments and mods, they'll all be "common" here, so best temper those expectations, eh?
That said, you can't go wrong with your trusty knife. While you probably shouldn't be relying on it for the final boss fight, during the first ten or so rounds it'll knock out zombies in a single hit, which is pretty handy should you find yourself in the middle of an undead scrum. It also comes with the added bonus - literally - of amassing extra points, too, enabling you to unlock perks and weapon upgrades sooner rather than later.

Armed and dangerous

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies: Loadout
As for firearms? If you're a spray-and-pray kind of shooter then the Stoner LMG offers loads of ammo and does decent, if not exceptional, damage. Alternatively, there's the Gallo SA12 shotgun, which is a personal favourite. Though it gets less effective the further into the mission you progress, it does a good job of one-shotting nearby zombies.
So, for your primary slot, ideally you want to be touting a Pack-a-Punched - more on that below - Gallo SA12 (H-NGM-N), ray gun (Porter's X2 ray gun), and the D.I.E. Electrobolt, which can't be P-a-P, but rocks nonetheless.


Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies: Pack-a-Punch
No judy, though
It probably comes as no surprise, then, that the best weapons for Pack-a-Punching are the knife - which becomes the aptly named Closing Argument - and the Gallo SA12, which becomes the monstrously efficient killing machine H-NGM-N.
Alternatively, the M16 - which becomes the Skullsplitter - is a good shout, doubling from three-round bursts to six, while the Krig 6 becomes the Blitzkrig 99 once pack-a-punched, which also doubles the ammo in each burst round.
To access the Pack-a-Punch, you'll need to find the Machine Part. Once done, you can spend your hard-earned Essence - which is the material gathered when killing those zombies - to buy the upgrades, but be cautious, as at 5,000, 15,000 and 30,000 respectively, they're not cheap.

Field (upgrade) of dreams

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies: Field Upgrade
Playing the field (upgrade)
You'll get a choice of five field upgrades, all of which deserve your time and attention, as they each offer a pretty distinct advantage in combat, such as freezing enemies, setting traps, or reviving your fallen comrades. Ideally, though, you probably want Aether Shroud, as these make you temporarily invisible which doesn't half come in handy from time to time.
That said, it's useful to have someone with Healing Aura on the team, too (and especially if you're lone-wolfing it). It summons a beam of energy that fully heals you and your squaddies, while it's three upgrades also boast regenerative healing effects, can knock down normal enemies and stun Special/Elite ones, and even revive downed partners when fully upgraded.

Feeling perky

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies - Perk
Perks of the job
Don't forget about the perks, too. These permanent upgrades can be unlocked by using Aetherium Crystals, and are a must if you're looking to complete the easter egg and make it all the way to the evacuation zone.
You'll pick up crystals every time you hit a particular in-game milestone, such as reaching the helicopter or surviving five rounds, and the longer you survive, the better your rewards will be.
Again, experimentation is key as different skills will suit different players, and there are six different perks to feast upon right now: Jugger-Nog, Quick Revive, Speed Cola, Stamin-Up, Deadshot Daiquiri, and an all-new Perk debuting in Black Ops Cold War: Elemental Pop.
All can be picked up from vending machines around The Die Maschine's map and if you're not sure what to go with, try Jugger-Nog, which boosts your base health, Super Cola, which raises your reload speed, and Stamin-Up, which improves how quickly you can run away...
Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies is out now on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.